Petri dish food safety

Public health authorities have told a small number of wholesalers to stop using imported rocket leaves in their salad mixes, as investigations into a major E.coli outbreak continue.

The outbreak had so far claimed two lives, PHE said today, with a total of 151 cases identified, 62 of which required hospital care.

As previously reported, the cases appeared to be linked to mixed salad leaves but the source had not yet been established definitively, PHE said.

Investigations continued, with PHE working with the Food Standards Agency to trace, sample and test salad products grown in the UK and Europe. “All food sample results to date have been negative for E.coli O157, but it’s important to be aware that where food has been contaminated with E.coli O157, it is not always possible to identify the bacteria on food testing,” Dr Isabel Oliver, director of PHE’s field epidemiology service said.

She added: “As an additional precautionary measure, we have advised a small number of wholesalers to cease adding some imported rocket leaves to their mixed salad products pending further investigations.”

So far, no retail products have been subject to an FSA recall as a result of the investigations.